Above: Donald Skinner-Reid, from the UK team, took a gold medal for his white Belgian fancy. After a total of 18 days away with the show conveyors, his birds are now home and settling back in to the birdroom Both photos: Donald Skinner-Reid


A RECORD PERFORMANCE at January’s World Show was attained by the Irish entrants: their 18 medals mark the best-ever result for members of Eire Ornithological Association (EOA).

Outstanding wins from the Irish team – made up of 17 EOA members – include first-time World Show exhibitor Michael Knight’s triple gold haul. His two stams of four hen siskins and four hybrids (linnet x redpoll) both achieved golds, and he took a third for his single hybrid (redpoll x bullfinch).

“What Michael has achieved is going to take some beating!” commented EOA publicity officer William Walsh.

A total of 136 birds were exhibited by EOA members at Matosinhos, Portugal, on January 24-26, harvesting eight gold, eight silver and two bronze medals.

Mr Walsh, who won silver with a blue siskin mule (93 points), said: “Our conveyors Peter Sherlock and Gerry Phelan did a fantastic job bringing our birds out and back safety and feeding/watering them for two weeks. Also our esteemed president Eddie Darcy proudly did a great job manning the Irish stand as he always does.

“A lot of EOA members were only one or two points away from winning a medal, which is great credit to them.”

The most medals (four) went to Irish fancy canary exhibitor John Barron from Kilkenny – two gold and two silvers – while Martin Mahoney bagged three: gold (stam of linnet mules), gold (95-point European hybrid, mutation redpoll x bullfinch) and silver (94-point mule, canary x bullfinch, in a class of 31 entries).

Other results filtering though from the UK team are a 94-point gold-medal-winning Belgian fancy benched by C&AB contributor Donald Skinner-Reid, who almost didn’t enter the show.

He explained: “On the last day for entries for the World Show, Simon Tammam, co-ordinator of the UK entry, asked that I show something. My reply was ‘I think this year I will pass. I’ve not bred anything good enough.’ I relented and thought that the white Belgian was worth sending. However, in conversation with a Spanish Belgian fancy breeder, whose stock I admire, I learned that he was exhibiting in the same class. I thought that I didn’t stand a chance.”

Of the 76 Belgians exhibited, only two – one exhibited by Mr Skinner-Reid and one benched by Charles van de Bilt – were awarded 94 points.

Turn to Letters, page 7 (February 12 issue), for Kevin McCallum’s insight as one of this year’s World Show judges.

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